MOSCOW, April 5 (RIA Novosti) – Russia has sent the Novocherkassk large amphibious landing ship to take part in the international Black Sea Naval Force (Blackseafor) naval exercise, a Black Sea Fleet spokesman said.
The drills, led by Turkey, will be held on April 5-23.
Capt. 1st Class Vyacheslav Trukhachev said on Thursday that the Russian warship, which carries a naval infantry unit aboard, will join the international naval group at the Bulgarian port of Varna and later call at the ports of Constance and Sevastopol.
The Novocherkassk is a Ropucha-I class large landing ship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, based in Sevastopol.
The Blackseafor was formally established in 2001 at Turkey's initiative and comprises Turkey, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, Georgia and Russia.
It is an on-call force and currently has no permanent headquarters. The Blackseafor is activated twice a year and the command structure is based on the principle of rotation. Each littoral member state assumes leadership for a one-year period.
The purpose of Blackseafor is to cooperatively promote security and stability in the Black Sea maritime area and beyond, strengthen friendship and good neighborly relations among the regional states, and increase interoperability among those states' naval forces, according to its charter.